WM PPV Countdown: #8 – WrestleMania VI

Smack in the middle of a series of WrestleMania events that featured a staggering fourteen matches on the card, WrestleMania VI stood out as a supercard that is memorable not just for the main event but for a variety of the bouts that made up the mid-card and helped sell the event.

The mixed tag team match featuring Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire battling “Macho King” Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri was one of the first matches of its kind on a major stage. It featured to certifiable legends in Rhodes and Savage in an unique environment and helped continue a feud that would last most of 1990 and continued the soap opera drama between Savage and his former valet Miss Elizabeth, who helped Rhodes and Sapphire win the bout.

Other than Rhodes and Savage, the other two main event stars in the WWF in the time not named Hogan or Warrior battled each other as Jake “The Snake” Roberts challenged “The Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase for DiBiase’s self-created and self-appointed Million $ Championship. The two industry veterans had been feuding with each other for months by this point with Roberts even stealing the Championship at one point and holding it hostage in the bag of his pet snake Damian. DiBiase won the match by count out, thus keeping the Title and regaining the physical possession of the Championship, but Roberts got a moral victory by revenge post-match.

The other major undercard bout featured Demolition (Ax and Smash) challenge the reigning WWF Tag Champions The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant & Haku) to rematch for the Titles. Demolition had lost the Championships to Haku and Andre in December 1989 and this was their chance to regain the gold. Andre, one of the few undisputed legends in the business, was in the twilight of his career. This match was one of the last of his storied career and the Tag Title reign was not only a thank you for his service to the company for all those years, but also a way to keep Andre relevant on television without having actually work all that much. Haku was there to do all the work while the Giant brought the credibility. Speaking of credibility Demolition gain loads of it by not only going to toe-to-toe with the legendary Giant by defeating him and winning the WWF World Tag Team Titles for a third time, which was a record at the time. It was Andre’s last match in the WWF and cemented Demolition as WWF tag team legends.

Plus the company used WrestleMania VI to promote new stars going into a new year. Men like Ravishing Rick Rude, The Barbarian, The Earthquake, and The Orient Express got big victories in preparation for their respective futures within the company. Regardless of how things actually turned for them in the long run, these victories on such a major stage set them up initially for success. Plus companies regulars like The Big Boss Man, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and The Hart Foundation also all picked up convincing victories that set them up for renewed promotion within the company as well.

However it was the true WrestleMania level main event that packed the crowds. The main event was WWF World Champion versus WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior, the biggest match that the WWF could conceivably put together at that time in history. In the WWF’s warped sports logic, being their Intercontinental Champion meant you were the number two guy in the company, and the automatic number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. This match would pit Title against Title, as the winner would win both belts. Add to the mix that Hogan and Warrior were also the company’s two most popular wrestlers at the time and you had a recipe for success. It was like two superheroes colliding center ring.

Neither man was known for their high-quality matches but in order to make sure the match delivered it was laid out in detail by wrestling guru Pat Patterson. It was essential that the two put on an entertaining match as they were expected to carry the pay per view. The match ended up being one of the better efforts for either man as they battled for over twenty minutes, trading the advantage back and forth. The crowd cheered wildly for both men but you clearly hear the split, as half the crowd put their support behind Hogan and the other half for Warrior.

But in the end it was The Ultimate Warrior who stood tall at the end as he kicked out of Hogan’s patented leg drop and got the victory after a big splash. The two men embraced after a hard-fought battle. Hogan then did the sportsmanlike thing and handed his World Title to the new Champion and left the ring to let Warrior have his moment. Warrior was the first man in history to hold both the Intercontinental and World Championships simultaneously. It made him look like a true superstar. He would relinquish the Intercontinental Title in order to concentrate on defending the World Title.

It was a great moment as the company was able to successfully create a new star with Ultimate Warrior. He was a new hero for fans to get behind, an alternative for those fans (like me) who were not fans of Hogan or were tired of seeing him as the main guy.

An interesting little tidbit about that night was that somewhere in that massive SkyDome, a 12 year-old kid named Adam Copeland was sitting there watching his hero Hulk Hogan go down in defeat. Copeland, a lifelong wrestling fan, would go on to grow up and become a pro wrestler himself, better known today as Edge. He would return to the SkyDome twelve years later in order to compete at WrestleMania X8. And as luck would have it, his hero Hulk Hogan once again was wrestling in the main event. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Match Results:
– Paul Roma beat The Brooklyn Brawler in a dark match before the pay per view went live on the air.
– Rick “The Model” Martel made Koko B. Ware submit.
– Demolition (Ax & Smash) beat The Colossal Connection (Haku & Andre the Giant) (c) to win the WWF World Tag Team Championships.
– Earthquake pinned Hercules.
– Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake pinned “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig.
– Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown went to a double count out.
– The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) beat The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov).
– The Barbarian pinned Tito Santana.
– Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire beat “The Macho King” Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri in a mixed tag match.
– The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka) beat The Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels) by count out.
– Hacksaw Jim Duggan beat Dino Bravo.
– “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase (c) beat Jake “The Snake” Roberts by count out in a match for the Million $ Championship.
– The Big Boss Man beat Akeem.
– Ravishing Rick Rude pinned Superfly Jimmy Snuka.
– WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior pinned WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan to win the WWF Championship.

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